Joe Saunders the unlikely veteran with a 3-3 record (1 ND) and a 3.63ERA will take the mound tonight for the Baltimore Orioles as they attempt to win the Elimination game against the Texas Rangers. The Rangers will counter with Yu Darvish 16-9 has a 3.90ERA and 221 strikeouts on the year.
Buck has hinted towards rotating out pitchers, and I personally don’t see any pitcher seeing the entire Texas lineup more than once. The bullpen has been a big strength this year and the contributions of them and Brian Matusz could be the turning point in winning this game.
For many Orioles this game will be somewhat of a homecoming, Quintilla, Davis, Strop, and Teagarden to name a few will all be returning to the place they got their start. Hopefully they will all be able to channel their inner Tillman and make them pay for releasing them.
This could be the perfect storm for Baltimore as Texas has struggled to end the season, surrendering the Divisional lead to Oakland. The bats have gone somewhat cold the end of the season but they are still the most potent offense in the American League. The Orioles will need to keep this game close and get a big performance from Saunders to set the tone, I think that Showalter has set up this team all year for this game, and I believe the Orioles will rise to the occasion.
Does the fact that I bleed black and orange give me a slight bias on who will win this game, and my assertions, sure. But I believe that the Orioles have had something all year that has meant more then statistics, Swagger. Most will call it confidence, or just describe it as an unrelenting determination to win, to prove the analysts, the critics, and everyone else wrong. Something has been brewing in Baltimore, we’ve seen flashes of it before this year but this year it all came together.
I think the Orioles come out strong and do what they need to do to get on the board, Showalter lives for these situations, he knows this is his chance to be the one in the dugout for the World Series not in the Broadcast Booth.
My Prediction: Orioles 4 Rangers 2